JOHN PAUL II
Sunday 21 October 2001
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Today we celebrate
World Mission Sunday, which Pope Pius XI instituted 75 years ago.
It reminds the entire People of God of the perennial timeliness of the
mission entrusted by Christ to his Church to proclaim the Gospel to all
nations (cf. Mt 28,19). This mandate acquired the greatest urgency at the
beginning of the third millennium, if we think of the great multitude of
humanity that still does not know or recognize Christ. Therefore, today
the mission "ad gentes" to all peoples is more necessary than ever.
They have the gift of living in the
land that is holy for Jews, Christians and Muslims. All must be determined
to make it, finally, a land of peace and fraternity.
In this mission of hope, a primary role is entrusted to families. Indeed, the family proclaims the Gospel of hope by its very composition, because it is founded on mutual confidence and faith in Providence. The family proclaims hope, because it is the place where life emerges and grows, in the generous and responsible exercise of fatherhood and motherhood. An authentic family, founded on marriage, is in itself "good news" for the world.
Moreover, in our time the families that collaborate actively in evangelization are ever more numerous, either in their own parish or diocese, or by participating in the mission "ad gentes" itself. Yes, dear families, the hour of the family has arrived in the Church, which is also the hour of the missionary family. It is confirmed by today's beatification of the spouses Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini. We especially entrust the missionary dedication of Christian families to their intercession, united to that of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
3. We do this before the image of Our Lady of Loreto, who yesterday and today has been among us, helping us to appreciate the maternal presence of the Virgin more concretely and to relive the spirit of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In this same spirit, we now recite the Angelus prayer.
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